Wednesday, March 02, 2011

On impending giveaways

Remarkably, it doesn't seem to have received much comment yet aside from a mention in James Wood's legislative notebook. But the fact that the Wall government is actively looking to hand free money to oil companies would seem well worth criticizing as the province debates how best to secure and invest its resource revenue:
Saskatchewan is considering competing with Calgary.

Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd says the Saskatchewan Party government could expand head office tax incentives beyond the potash industry, with oil companies a potential target.

In 2009 the government introduced a five-year, $100,000 per employee annual tax credit for each head office job created or relocated in Saskatchewan by potash companies.

Potash was seen as a natural choice because of the size of the industry in Saskatchewan, but others are also being eyed, acknowledged Boyd.

"Would we look at any kind of an incentive for oil companies and try to attract them to Saskatchewan? It might be something we would consider, yes," he said.
Now, it would be hard to blame any company for taking up the offer: after all, they surely can't say "no" to having Saskatchewan pay its employees while being able to reap the profits of their work. But the fact that an incentive program would largely be intended to lure businesses from Alberta only proves that there's no expectation of long-term gain: as soon as anybody else offered a better deal, they'd have an equally strong incentive to bolt rather than actually setting down any meaningful roots in Saskatchewan.

As a result of both that reality and the sheer absurdity of shoving more public money at already-profitable industries, I highly doubt that most Saskatchewan citizens see paying the oil industry's bills as being the best use of Saskatchewan's resources. And since there doesn't seem to be much room for doubt that another term of the Sask Party would see millions upon millions more in giveaways, it's long past time to highlight the Wall government's desire to make sure the proceeds of Saskatchewan's boom are funneled into corporate coffers before it's too late.

No comments:

Post a Comment